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Toxics

DPR DIRECTOR BLASTS WATER BOARD AQUATIC PESTICIDE PERMIT DECISION

Outgoing pesticides department director Paul Helliker, anticipating severe regulatory overlap, this week blasted the water board's recent approval of a controversial aquatic pesticides general permit that increases monitoring requirements on pesticide applicators. Although environmentalists, pesticide applicators and water board staff are scheduled to meet later this month to negotiate a possible regional monitoring program for the permit, Helliker called the permit an example of the need for government reform to lessen duplicative regulatory action.

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MORE PROMINENT DPR ROLE PLANNED FOR PESTICIDE DRIFT RESPONSE BILL

Significant changes are expected to be made to a pesticide drift response bill, including amendments that would specify a larger role for the pesticides department and reduce the level of fee funding for the new program. The bill, which is drawing some initial concerns from agriculture organizations, was introduced largely in response to a couple of drift incidents last month that sickened farm workers in Kern County.

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DPR CHIEF HELLIKER RESIGNS; GOSSELIN SEEN AS POTENTIAL SUCCESSOR

Paul Helliker is resigning as director of the pesticides department effective June 18 to take a job at a Bay Area water district in a move he says is wholly unrelated to the change in administration. There are no plans yet to name a replacement at the department, according to Cal/EPA, though several names have been bandied about in the past as possible successors, including current deputy director Paul Gosselin.

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Industry Criticizes EPA Plan To Cut Funds For Pesticide Use Training Program

Pesticide makers are urging EPA to avoid proposed cuts in funding for state programs that train sprayers of highly toxic pesticides, and are recommending that the agency set aside money in future budget proposals to Congress to guarantee funding for the programs. The industry says the proposed cuts would result in fewer people who are licensed to use these chemicals.

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USDA REORGANIZATION COULD BOOST PROGRAMS' WATER QUALITY BENEFITS

A pending reorganization of the Agriculture Department's (USDA) conservation agency may help resolve the agency's long-standing inability to measure water quality gains from its conservation programs, as evidenced in a recent agency decision to restrict farmer enrollment in a key program because it lacked the technology to quantify these gains, environmentalists say.

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LAWSUIT TESTS EPA GUIDE ON WATER PERMIT NEEDS FOR PESTICIDE USE

A pending federal lawsuit by an Idaho county against EPA could be the basis for an eventual appellate ruling testing the legality of a controversial agency guidance that exempts many pesticide applications from Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting requirements.

Many pesticide applicators, including mosquito control districts and farmers, fear EPA's guidance leaves them exposed to citizen suits claiming that pesticide applications over and into waters require clean water permits.

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WRCB CHANGES TO AQUATIC PESTICIDES PERMIT MAY DRAW LAWSUIT

The water board's adoption last week of an aquatic pesticides general permit may draw litigation from disgruntled activists, who charge the permit's monitoring requirements are too weak and violate federal law. While board members directed staff to consider future monitoring requirements, environmentalists allege the permit's current standards fall short of helping the board determine the full extent of water pollution caused by aquatic pesticide applications.

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Northeast States, Activists Sue EPA Over Pesticide Exposure To Children

Four Northeast states and several activist groups have filed two separate lawsuits against EPA, charging that the agency has failed to adequately protect infants and children from pesticides in food.

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Series Of Petitions Lay Out Widespread Allegations Against EPA Pesticide Reviews

Environmentalists will likely file additional petitions challenging EPA's setting of pesticide tolerances for food, adding to a series of objections already brought by activists that together lay out widespread allegations against the agency that sources say could wind up in court.

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NIEHS To Fund Research Into Links Between Pesticides And Parkinson's Disease

The federal government plans to fund a series of centers that will study the connections between Parkinson's disease and exposure to pesticides, in the wake of a growing body of scientific literature suggesting that a link exists, according to a source at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The source says EPA could ultimately use the results of the study to craft regulations on pesticide use.

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